Hidden behind the glam and excitement of the CPL T20 Tournament (won by T&T’s Red Steel btw) was the announcement that the West Indies will not be a part of the ICC 2017 Champions Trophy Tournament.
The ICC Champions Trophy is a One Day Tournament among the top 8 cricket playing countries that provides a more streamlined event in comparison to the ICC World Cup. West Indies are currently ranked 9th in the One Day format of the game. The West Indies have been a finalist three times in this tournament- the most by any team, with the one victory coming in 2004. This was under local legend Brian Lara in what he described as one of his proudest moments as part of the Windies because of the team-aspect of the success.
West Indies now have the ignominy- despite being the 3rd test playing nation, to become the first to be booted off the top table of Test playing nations. The WICB, by all reports, tried nearly every other test playing nation in an attempt to arrange a series that could potentially give us the wins to boost our ranking. However, the Board failed miserably. Pakistan actually squashed a tri-series tournament- that would have included Zimbabwe and the Windies, because they would actually be the team to miss out should our ratings improve.
So that move, it appears, screams that this is no longer the “gentleman’s game.” You know, the one your grandfather used to play? One can only wonder if they would have had the gumption to be so dismissive if India, England and Australia were in our position, since the re-shuffling of the ICC executive. These three now, more or less, run world cricket.
However, the real blame for this position rests not with other nations but with ourselves. After having seen the West Indies team become more competitive under Dwayne Bravo as One Day Captain in the past couple years, we faced the debacle in India where the tour was cut short due to a payment issue between the Board and the players. Apart from the off-the-field issues that this has caused- including the cessation of bi-lateral tours with India, we also saw young Jason Holder being burdened with the responsibility of Captaincy while being stripped of a few senior players. This coincided with a run of 4 wins in our last 12 games resulting in a slide down the ICC ODI rankings, while others such as Bangladesh have been beating higher ranked teams.
Several senior players, including CPL MVP (and captain at the time) Dwayne Bravo, have not been selected for the West Indies since that India tour.
Several players have since “retired” from Test cricket this year citing various reasons, despite still possessing the ability to be considered for the Test team.
Just last month several senior players stated that they have resigned from the players association, WIPA, as they believe the association no longer has the players’ best interest at heart.
All these goings-on just as coach Phil Simmons held out the olive branch in the hope of having the best players available for selection.
It makes us wonder…what is the REAL scene with West Indies Cricket?